Over the last six months, I’ve had the honor to meet many of our donors, patrons, and performers. Without fail, each expresses a tremendous love for the Lobero Theatre, and “The Lobero Experience.”
If you’re a frequent visitor, you know how it feels to be in the house when performers share personal stories about how long they’ve been playing here, and somehow it feels like you’re just chatting with an old friend.
An experience at the Lobero is about more than seeing a performance, it’s also about connecting and creating memories with others.
Our staff and crew work to create an atmosphere of intimacy, adding personal touches whenever we can. We view every performer, renter, patron, and donor as part of the Lobero family. This palpable quality of home, inclusion, and connection inspires artists and patrons alike to return time and again.
Born in the dark days following World War I, flourishing during the roaring twenties, and eluding demise during the great depression, CAMA has endured through a story of struggle, survival, and triumph as compelling as the world-renowned music and performers it presents.
CAMA’s roots date to the 1919 Civic Music Committee and the 1921 Orchestra Committee (Music Branch) of the Community Arts Association (CAA). Though they differed in approach, the two organizations were in accord in wanting to promote and provide the very best in classical music for Santa Barbara. It was the CAA that, in 1922, took on the monumental task of re-building Jose Lobero’s declining Opera House into the Lobero Theatre that we know today. Both organizations continued their work side-by-side until 1926 when the CAA Music Branch took on the work of the Civic Music Committee. In 1941, the Music Branch incorporated as a separate entity, CAMA, and continued the work begun in 1919.
CAMA’s presentation of live classical music performances featuring world-renowned artists and orchestras over the past 100 years is a testament to its founders and successors who have upheld their commitment to enriching Santa Barbara’s cultural life, and those who have supported this legacy. Today, CAMA continues to enrich the lives of the Santa Barbara region and its visitors to experience and enjoy classical music through live performances and educational outreach for future generations.
We wanted to turn the spotlight to the real stars of each and every show at the Lobero–our family of volunteer ushers!
Herewith, four exemplary individuals who have been recognized as Usher of the Year:
“I have been ushering all of the wonderful music, humor, and educational and community events that this unique and wonderful theatre offers for 10 years, and it has been a life-changing experience. I am proud to be a part of the great Lobero family. Arriving early when the theatre is empty to help prepare for opening [the house], I’m still filled with anticipation at what magic is in store.”
– Phil Parson, Usher of the Year 2014
“I find it incredibly difficult to put into words all of the gratitude that I have in my heart for being embraced and welcomed into the Lobero Theatre Family! It’s truly a very, very special venue. I still absolutely adore my favorite position of taking tickets, personally greeting and welcoming patrons with a smile to a place that feels like home, and that I have such great pride in being a part of!”
– Evelyne Chezum, Usher of the Year 2015
“As a retired elementary teacher, ushering at the Lobero has allowed me to give back to the community. I am able to cross paths with patrons of all ages and work alongside people that I may not have met otherwise. The Lobero has introduced me to a wide range of talented artists–experiencing their performances is truly something I cherish!”
– Sherry Shultz, Usher of the Year 2016
“I never tire of walking into one of Santa Barbara’s great architectural treasures; the Lobero is beautiful inside and out. As an usher, I most enjoy the patrons’ surprise and excitement on their first visit. The community of hardworking staff and volunteers is impressive–bright, interesting, dedicated, and positive. I have enjoyed experiencing the operation of a first-rate theatre and am most grateful for the new friendships and the opportunity to help.”
–Linda Wolcott Moore, Usher of the Year 2017
Known for his artistic vision and his deep understanding and love of music, Alan follows his passion for visual arts.
He began developing his skill as a photographer in 1973, which had led to the world of cinematography. Alan showcased his talent in several visually stunning films and critically-acclaimed films including, For Us The Living: The Medgar Evers Story and the majestic award-winning film Travellers and Magicians. Alan has produced and directed many music documentaries featuring such diverse artists as Ravi Shankar, Jackson Browne, Kenny Loggins, and Lionel Richie.
As a life-long seeker of knowledge, Alan began studying music with Pandit Ravi Shankar in 1978. He has performed with Ravi worldwide at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and London’s Royal Opera House. Since 1978, Alan has actively documented the major milestones of Ravi’s life and has managed his visual archives.
Alan has been at the forefront of innovation in filmmaking for which he has received extensive recognition. In 1981 Alan developed a new technology where he filmed and directed a 360-degree, 70mm film for Envirovision Theaters. In 1993 he innovated, filmed and edited a simultaneous 10-screen feature presentation of Chinese culture for “Hawpaw Village”, a major theme park in Singapore. In 1984 Alan co-founded Pacific Ocean Post, a leading film and television post-production studio in Santa Monica, California, breaking new ground in the integration of digital technology and visual expression.
Through his continual travel, deep exploration, extensive relationships, vivid imagination, and unending curiosity Alan Kozlowski remains to this day on the path of discovery.
After 10 years with the Lobero Theatre Foundation, Jessica Baggarly has moved on to greener pastures.
Jessica was a committed member of the Development team, who worked tirelessly to plan and host hundreds of events at the theatre.
It was not uncommon to see Jessica rolling up her sleeves to do the tough stuff–from moving tables to securing sponsorships, building relationships and signing contracts.
Today, Jessica is the proprietor of an environmentally conscious company, Tinkle Belle Diaper Service. Her lifelong love for the environment made an impact on the Lobero as well. Throughout her tenure at the theatre, Jessica to reduce waste. She was instrumental in implementing a theatrewide composting program through the City of Santa Barbara Trash & Recycling Program and put the Lobero on course to become a Certified Green Business in 2016.
Purchasing a reusable pint and using it each time you go to the Lobero–or the Santa Barbara Bowl–can help keep thousands of single-use cups out of the trash.
Let’s raise a pint to Jessica Baggarly, and a greener concert experience!
In June, Adrienne DeGuevara joined the foundation, and we couldn’t be happier with all she brings to the team.
Herewith, a few of her own words:
“It is my privilege to join the Lobero Theatre staff as the new Assistant Director of Development! For the past year, you may have seen me in the green room as hospitality coordinator, where I had the honor of welcoming and taking excellent care of our performing artists.
As a kid, I remember regular visits to the Lobero and consider them an integral part of my arts education. I have fond memories of going to shows with my father, who was a dancer and lover of music. My first introduction to opera–one of my father’s favorite musical genres–was at the Lobero.
Adrienne is celebrating her birthday on October 13 and asking friends to make a gift to support the Lobero Annual Fund.
If you are in Santa Barbara and can join me on my birthday the Lobero is presenting folk superstars, I’m With Her. It’s already sold out, and going to be an incredible show. If you donate over $100, I can offer a pair of tickets, and we can celebrate together. If you make a gift of any size, I’m happy to kick in free drink tickets to the next show you attend at the Lobero.
Either way, thanks for reading and let’s raise a glass to celebrate the arts and the Lobero with me on my birthday!”
Over the last 10 years, The Christmas Revels have transported audiences to Scotland, Ireland, England and Andalusia to enjoy the traditions of each time and place.
This year, the Revels will be staying home.
The new show—An Early California Celebration of the Winter Solstice—is set in Santa Barbara in the year 1836, and is based on an actual historic event, when young Harvard student Richard Henry Dana took time off from school and sailed on a merchant trader ship up and down the West Coast. While anchored in Santa Barbara Harbor, he and his shipmates were invited to the wedding of Anita de la Guerra—and you are invited to the wedding–aka, the social event of the season!
The original script is written by award-winning historian and writer Erin Graffy, in collaboration with Santa Barbara Revels Founder and Artistic Director, Susan Keller. The music is selected and arranged by Erin McKibben, an instrumentalist and choral director who led the talented Children’s Chorus last year and has taken over the position of Revels Music Director this year. She is assisted in her research by music historian Nicholas Jurkowski, who is unearthing wonderful material from that era, and by James Garcia, an expert in the music of this period. Stage Director Matt Tavianini draws on his extensive experience with Boxtales Theatre Company and his many directing assignments around the community.
This new show will include the beloved Revels touchstones found in every production of “The Christmas Revels” done by each of the nine Revels communities throughout the U.S. From the traditional musical and theatrical elements that enliven and enrich each performance of “The Christmas Revels” to the lively audience participation, “An Early California Celebration of the Winter Solstice” is sure to satisfy history and holiday buffs alike.
In this highlight from BACKSTAGE, Board president Amy MacLeod highlights stats from last year and gives a shoutout to some star performers.
Welcome to a new season at the Lobero!
photo: Jackson Augustus
As I begin my second year as Lobero Board President, I am pleased to reflect on a wonderfully successful 2016-17 season. Theatre activity was up by nearly 14% from the prior year, the community enjoyed a number of (sold out!) performances by incredible artists, and we provided a professional performing arts experience to more than 2,000 local youth through our Youth and Community Outreach programs.
I am also happy to report that the Board and staff are making clear strides toward building an endowment for the Lobero, a critical tool for ensuring the long-term stability and vibrancy of this important venue. We are committed to making sure that we leave this theatre stronger and more financially secure for the generations of artists, audiences, and volunteers who will follow in our footsteps.
As I look forward to the coming season, I’m excited for the opportunities and experiences awaiting us. Santa Barbara Revels will be premiering a brand new performance based on California and Santa Barbara history. We will also see the return of the AHA! Sing it Out program, which had their Lobero debut in April. Watching these teens overcome their challenges and perform fearlessly on stage is a touching and inspiring experience, and we are happy to be the new hosts for their annual show.
I hope you will join me often at the theatre and share another great season.
Hale Milgrim is a rock ‘n roll raconteur and a die hard fan whose passion for music has never dimmed.
There is a lot we can say about Hale; beyond an incredible career that including being the President of Capitol Records, he is incredibly generous, supporting Lobero LIVE and Sings Like Hell, and giving his time to compile and share personal memories in several, “Go to Hale” evenings at the Lobero Theatre. We wrapped the first round of the Go To Hale Film series in January and wanted to share our thoughts as we head into Series 2 this summer.
Hale has amazing insights and stories, but, prefers to keep the spotlight on the musicians he so admires.
After David Bowie’s death in early 2016, Hale was reliving some of Bowie’s best performances and came across the incredibly touching opening of the Concert for New York City – a stripped-down medley of Simon and Garfunkel’s “America” and “Heroes.” Seated on the floor with only a Casio keyboard, Bowie’s raw vocals soared as he sang to his own local FDNY Ladder before being joined by a full band. It was a standout performance in a brilliant career of standout performances, and it inspired Hale to craft a loving tribute to honor the fifteenth anniversary of September 11, focusing on how these incredible musicians came together to heal in the face of tragedy. Held on Sunday, September 11 to a packed house, this showing of hand-selected excerpts from the
Held on Sunday, September 11 to a packed house, this showing of hand-selected excerpts from the Concert for New York City featured performances from Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, Elton John, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, John Mellencamp, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Paul McCartney, The Who, and more. Hale shared stories about artists he knew and worked with and thanked Santa Barbara’s First Responders who enjoyed complimentary tickets.
As he worked on the Concert for New York City evening, Hale conceived of two more in the burgeoning film series, choosing to honor George Harrison and Bob Dylan. On the 15th anniversary of George Harrison’s passing, Hale led audiences through select performances from the moving concert film, Concert for George, featuring to Eric Clapton and friends giving the performance of their lives. Besides truly special performances by Anoushka Shankar, Jeff Lynne, Billy Preston, the Traveling Wilburys, and of course, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, there were bits of comedy from Monty Python, and clips of Dhani Harrison carrying on George’s legacy.
The third was the Bob Dylan: 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration comes on the heels of Dylan’s Nobel Prize in Literature award, which only adds to his growing mythology. Recorded at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 1992, the concert features many artists performing classic Dylan songs including members of Booker T. and the MG’s, Kris Kristofferson, Roger McGuinn, Ronnie Wood, Johnny Cash and June Carter, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Eddie Vedder, The Band, and more.
“Go to Hale” has always been a celebration of the Lobero, held to thank our wonderful volunteers and raise needed funds. Each of these evenings featured a coordinated silent auction featuring items from Hale’s personal collection–from gold records and record industry sales awards on down to DVD’s and collectibles that tied into each performance. All proceeds went to supporting live music on the Lobero stage. Best of all, items went home with passionate fans, just like Hale.
This story is currently featured in the Spring 2017 BACKSTAGE at the Lobero, but we were forced to edit it down for space. We hope you’ll read on to learn more about this powerful work of theater, and the talented team that’s putting it all together. This project is a part of the Lobero Theatre Foundation’s Youth and Community Outreach Programs.
How did you begin working with Opera for youth?
I am a Lyric Mezzo Soprano with a Masters Degree in Vocal Performance/Opera from the Manhattan School of Music. I have sung as a soloist throughout the US and Europe, and while most of the audiences I have sung for have been adults, I have always loved sharing the art form with younger audiences as well. While in New York City, I sang for the Metropolitan Opera Guild, performing outreach education to over 15,000 public school children in underserved areas, which is how I started sharing the operatic art form with youth. I started an Opera Camp at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music in the summer, where I brought colleagues from New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera to do workshops and masterclasses with the children. When I moved to Ojai five years ago with my budding family, I carried on this work as an Artist-in-Residence with the Ojai Music Festival, going into the schools in Ventura County and starting a program called “Ojai Creates Opera.” I then started my own company in Ojai, “Ojai Youth Opera,” where we have been holding masterclasses, workshops and opera scenes for youth ages 7-18 every summer for the past five years. We are bringing a level of excellence in classical music education to the youth of this area and exposing them to a new art form, and the results have been truly rewarding.
There is a reason why this opera survived the war. It makes me feel there is still more insight, more hope, more tolerance, more love that can be spread and shared through this work of art. The children of Theresienstadt will forever be remembered through the voices of our children.
Tell me a little bit about this collaboration with Ojai Youth Opera and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony for Brunidbár. How did that come together?
Maestro Protopapas had heard about what was happening in Ojai through a mutual colleague at the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, Director Andy Radford. Maestro had been considering doing a youth production of Brundibár in Santa Barbara as an addition to the regularly scheduled OSB performances for the 2016/2017 season; what he didn’t know initially was that Ojai Youth Opera had also been planning on staging Brundibár in the Spring of 2017 as our first featured Opera! Kostis reached out to me, and we marveled at the serendipity of it all–Brundibár is not a common opera and the chances of us both being drawn to the same material at the same time are quite rare. We decided to co-collaborate and align our vision to make one production that could be performed both at Ojai’s Libbey Bowl and at the Lobero in Santa Barbara in May of 2017. We decided to share our staff, resources, and talent as a truly collaborative effort because all three organizations, Ojai Youth Opera, Opera Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Youth Symphony, believe strongly in the message of hope and tolerance that has inspired this opera and we believe it is timely and important to share it.
What can you tell us about the work, Brunidbár?
At its most basic level, Brundibár is a musical fable told from the perspective of a brave brother and sister who are confronted by a larger-than-life organ grinder who bullies and scares them. The animals and townspeople of their small village serve as symbols of resistance and encouragement to help the siblings find their voices and ultimately succeed in standing up to Brundibár, despite being children.
Although the story is simple, its message is anything but. Originally written in 1938, Krasa and librettist Adolf Hoffmeister created the opera for the Children’s Orphanage of Prague. It debuted in secret in 1941, due to the occupation by the German army. When the war escalated, Krasa was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp and re-wrote the opera, (some of which was destroyed along the way) for the children and instrumentalists in the camp. Overall, Brundibár was performed 55 times by the children of Theresienstadt. Hitler failed to realize was that the opera itself was a work of resistance. The Brundibár character symbolized Hitler himself, a bully and tyrant who would stop at nothing to get his own way, including threatening small children. In this story, the children overcome the tyrant and refuse to be intimidated. The victory chorus at the end of the opera is the ultimate triumph–a defiant plea to not give into hatred, prejudice, and bigotry, sung from the courageous hearts of the children. It is their innocence and hope that prevail, and those qualities are reflected in Krasa’s score.
What do you envision for the future of the Youth Opera program?
Maestro Protopapas has said that soloists come and go, but it is the ensemble, the people who are part of the community and committed to season after season, that are really the lifeblood of the organization. My hope is that the Youth Opera program will also become a musical cornerstone for the opera company, so that year after year, we watch these children return to OSB and mature into polished young artists who become a permanent part of the ensemble. Even if they don’t become professional opera singers or classical musicians, we will be cultivating the next generation of opera aficionados, educators, leaders and advocates in a time when they are so desperately needed. Their presence in the Opera Company can, in turn, ignite a whole new audience–younger, more diverse, and open to new art forms. And in this way, we all grow.